Impressive prize for Professor Mette Marie Rosenkilde
On Wednesday 21 June, Mette Marie Rosenkilde received the KFJ-prize of DKK 1.5 million for her ground-breaking research into protein receptors.
Each year, the Kirsten and Freddy Johansen Foundation awards prizes and funding for non-profit purposes – for example research activities with medical science. This year, two researchers from SUND receive the foundation’s research prizes.
Mette Marie Rosenkilde from Department of Biomedical Sciences receives the so-called preclinical prize for her epoch-making research into protein receptors with a view to developing new drugs. The other receipt is Bente Klarlund who has been awarded the preclinical prize for the discovery that the muscles produce hormone-like substances during physical activity.
Professor Mette Marie Rosenkilde has researched the important G protein-coupled receptors – the small ‘antennas’ attached to human cells. She has always taken a basic research approach to the receptors. Therefore, a lot of her work has been about mapping their expression as well as their characteristics and mechanisms, focussing especially on how substances attach to the receptors, the effect hereof and whether this can be used to develop new drugs.
Among other things, Mette Marie Rosenkilde has studied receptors that regulate the immune system. Here she has described a method for blocking the entry of HIV into cells. She has also described how other substances’ effect on the receptors can prevent the spread of herpes virus.
Furthermore, she has shown how it is possible to prevent fat from depositing in the body and to control blood sugar levels by affecting a specific receptor. She is currently testing this with a view to developing medicinal products with an inhibitory effect on fat accumulation.
She was also the first to describe in detail a fat receptor, which is regulated upwards significantly by Epstein-Barr virus, and which appears to be linked to the development of metabolic diseases. She has recently shown that this receptor can play a main role in the development of chronic lymphatic leukaemia.
’I am very happy to receive this prize – especially because it rewards me for my basic research. Because to some extent I have been lucky that the receptors I have been interested in have turned out to be coupled to some widespread and important diseases’, Mette Marie Rosenkilde says.